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A Change of Tune

by shadowcristal


Fiol walked down the dim hallway, passing all the students as she carefully observed them. She was like a shadow, existence acknowledged but no attention paid to. The shadow Eyrie watched other pupils of her Neoschool talk, laugh, giggle and converse.

     The groups were there. There were popular pets, who would always talk about the latest concert, spiff comics in the Neopian Times etc. There were Battledomers, chatting about their best BD weapons. There was also a group of intelligent pets, exchanging books and telling stories. There were all kinds of pets, all in a group, clique or ring of some kind. There was even an artsy bunch, consisting of crazy artists.

     But Fiol wasn't in a group like that. She was alone, wandering the hallways by herself. No one knew why. It was like an unwritten rule, kind of a judgment, an agreement that she would not talk to them, and they would not talk to her.

     She was simply what one would call... out of tune.

     It had been like this as long as anyone could remember. From the first day, Fiol had her corner where she sat all day. No one talked to her, and she didn't talk to anyone. From that first day, the groups formed and she was the outsider. The misfit.

     The shadow Eyrie didn't care much for the matter, but her owner did. Almost every single day, Edith would ask about school. Just the thought of those questions would make Fiol cringe. She never had any good news, and she wasn't about to lie to her owner.

     One day, Edith noticed a poster. She took out her handy dandy notebook and scribbled a few lines. Perhaps this would work with her recluse pet.

     "Guess what?" Edith asked the Cloud Eyrie as they ate dinner.

     "What?" Fiol replied, tense and ready for the 'What happened in school today?' question.

     "You'll be attending extra classes!" her owner said cheerfully as the Eyrie spat out a mouthful of asparagus.

     "WHAT?" Fiol exclaimed, shocked. No way! She hadn't done anything to deserve these extra classes! Sure, school was okay, but extra studying? Her grades might not be perfect, but they weren't that bad...

     "Oh... I think we have a little misunderstand here," Edith declared, noticing her pet's confused expression. "Anyway, what I mean with extra classes is that you'll be taking music lessons!"

     "Thanks," the Eyrie said, feeling relieved. "What kind of lessons?"

     "I thought you might like violin," Edith smiled. "It suits your name."

     "When do I start?" Fiol asked, suspecting that her owner had already signed her up. Edith was nice and wise, but she had her in-the-spur-of-the-moment decisions.

     "Tomorrow at 3:30 PM." The owner took out a piece of paper and put it in front of Fiol's nose. "This is the address. You'll have a solo lesson first, go home and eat dinner and then have a group session."

     "I guess that's twice a week," Fiol muttered. Inside, she was quite happy that Edith cared. The Eyrie wiped the asparagus off the table and continued to eat her food.


     "Typical Edith to make it so complicated," the Eyrie complained as she looked around for the music school. "Ah, there it is!" Fiol ran towards the blue building, having a feeling that she might be late.

     "Room number 217..." Fiol muttered as she looked around. "It should be on the second floor," she told herself as she noted how new and fresh the environment looked. Tropical plants dangled from the ceiling of the cafeteria. The Eyrie was amazed at this feat as she hurried to the stairs.

     "You must be Fiol," a female Gelert said, appearing in the stairway. "Come. I've been waiting for you." She smiled, and grabbed the Eyrie's paw.

     "I'm your teacher. Forget all the formalities and miss-stuff, just call me Mai." The Shadow Gelert opened the door to room 217 and gently pushed Fiol inside. The Eyrie inspected the room. It was bright and spacey, contrary to the dim halls at school. This airy space made Fiol feel as if she could learn in a new way.

     "Well, we'll be starting off with the basics," Mai said. "Did you bring your violin?"

     Fiol nodded and opened the case. Inside was a shiny, new violin that Edith had bought her yesterday. The teacher examined her new violin and pointed out all the different parts. She learned how to draw the bow across the strings. Sometimes it sounded okay, and sometimes it sounded worse.

     "Try pressing your fingers on the strings... Yes, just like that! A little bit further from the end, that's it..." the Gelert encouraged Fiol. The Eyrie tasted a little bit of success when she found that she could make more noises than before. Some of them sounded pretty nice in a combination.

     "Great job!" Mai said when Fiol managed to play Twinkle Little Star. The Eyrie knew that it was mediocre, but she had played her first song!

     "Well, that's it for today," the Gelert said. "As an extra bonus, just to give you some motivation, I'll play a little. May I?"

     "Sure!" Fiol said, feeling very happy at getting this treat. Music lesson aren't that bad, she thought as she listened to the wonderful music that Mai's violin produced. The Gelert's fingers moved quickly across the strings, skipping here and there. The whole room vibrated with that wonderful tune that Mai played. The colorful notes danced around in the air before they escaped through a couple of cracks in the walls.

     "We'll see each other tomorrow," Mai said after she had finished. Fiol was ushered out of room 217 where miracles like that happened. She felt a little bit disappointed; the lesson had been pleasant but cut short. An hour wasn't enough to learn... In fact, not all the time in the world would be enough to spend on music like that.

     "I want to make magic like that happen; I want to create music like that," she thought as she walked down the stairs. "I'll be back, you'll see..."


     The Eyrie stood in front of the door, feeling a tiny bit nervous. The hour with Mai had been great, but now she had to interact with other students. What if this ended up like the first day of school? Fiol smiled as she remembered how excited both Edith and she had been at dinner. She could and would not quit now!

     The door opened, and Fiol walked inside to find three other students already sitting there. The teacher presented herself as Miss Wendin. She was a stern, Yellow Lenny that was just there to teach. Miss Wendin went through the basics of playing together, and then they got down to actually playing.

     As she moved her bow, Fiol took a close look at the three other pets. They were all girls. One was a Blue Zafara, looking quite helpful and cheerful. Sometimes, at soft and long parts, she would close her eyes and hum to the melody. There was also a Green Ruki, who seemed to love to play fast. The third pet was a White Yurble, playing her violin with grace and precision. They seemed kind of familiar.

     As quick as it had arrived, the hour was gone. Miss Wendin let the girls leave after she had commented the things they needed to work on, both individually and as a group.

     Group... The word itself held so many feelings. Fiol put her violin back into the case and walked outside.

     "Hi," the Blue Zafara greeted.

     "You're new, right?" the Ruki asked, smiling and reaching out her hand. "I'm Ida, and these are my buddies, Chiel," she pointed to the Zafara, "and Linn." She pointed to the Yurble.

     "I'm Fiol," the Eyrie said.

     "Welcome to our little nonconformist group," Linn said as Fiol shook hands with Ida. Someone whistled the tune that they had played, and then they all joined in.

     "Well, we'll have to split up now," Chiel said as they walked out of the building. "But it was fun today, wasn't it?"

     "Yeah," the Eyrie agreed shyly.

     "See ya!" Ida waved nonchalantly as the four pets went off in different directions.

     Fiol felt satisfied. It was good. The whole thing hadn't ended up like the first day at school, and those girls were quite nice. She whistled the melody again, feeling happy. Playing violin was fun.


     The shadow walked down the hallway, watching other pets as usual. Nothing was different at school, but those music lessons had made some the difference. Fiol whistled the tune as she turned around the corner and bumped into someone.

     "Excuse me," a familiar voice said. The Eyrie looked up from the floor and saw a patch of white fur, to her surprise.

     "Fiol?" Linn asked. "Hey guys! Look, Fiol is in our school!" Ida and Chiel arrived shortly after the Yurble's exclamation.

     "This was certainly a surprise," Chiel said. "Well, it's great that you're here." She smiled warmly.

     "Hang out with us, won't you?" Ida asked. "You're already in our little artsy group..."

     Fiol nodded. Slowly, a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth and spread across her face as Ida started whistling that song. The Eyrie joined in with a smile. Yes. Now it was good, properly and not just kind of. Now she wasn't an outsider anymore. Now she belonged somewhere. All because of a little tune.

The End

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